Clean It with Vinegar

The conversation at the annual Kelly spring barbecue turned to spring-cleaning.

“Spring what?” laughed Angela.

“My spring-cleaning lasts all year,” said Monica. “It should really be called ‘year-cleaning.’”

Nancy freshens the paint on the doors in her house come spring. “I also wipe down all the walls with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day [$7.99 for 32 ounces at]. It’s all-natural, has a lemon scent, and I can clean almost anything with it. I’ve also used a mixture of baking soda, borax, and water as a cleaner. You can add your own essential oil to it for scent. It works well on most surfaces.”

“Cleaning projects can be overwhelming when I think of doing everything at once,” said Katie. “I do love to clean; I just simply don’t have much time for a lot of deep cleaning these days. I pick something that doesn’t get done very often, and that will only take ten minutes, and I add it to my normal cleaning day. While cleaning the kitchen, I’ll add wiping down all the cabinets and all the handles on one occasion. The next time, I might pick the messiest drawer to clean out and get rid of unused items, wipe out the drawer, and put only the necessary items neatly back in the drawer.”

Katie continued, “I use rubbing alcohol as a stain remover on carpet. Drip a good amount of rubbing alcohol on the stain and then gently rub the spot with a paper towel or old rag and the spot comes right off.

“Vinegar is a great germ killer, degreaser, soap-scum remover, cutting-board cleaner, dishwasher aid — leaves dishes streak-free — and a great washing machine and dishwasher cleaner between loads every few months. It’s nontoxic and gentle on my sinuses, unlike regular chemical cleaners. Because it’s so safe, it’s a great way to have my children help with the cleaning process.”

Katie buys her distilled white vinegar at Costco (Heinz, $3.29 for 5 liters). “I mix one part vinegar to two to five parts water. If the cleanup job involves major germs, I’ll even use full-strength vinegar.”

Mitzi is also a fan of vinegar as a cleaning agent. “I like vinegar for cleaning counters and mirrors. I use half water, half white vinegar for regular use and full-strength vinegar for meat juice.”

Sande uses vinegar with baking soda in the disposal. “Let it sit for an hour, then flush with hot water and run the disposal. I also pour vinegar in the toilet and let it sit before flushing.”

She is also a fan of Magic Erasers ($1.97 for a two-pack at Walmart). “But recently I purchased the purple rags from the Flylady website [$9.95 for a three-pack of microfiber cloths at]. They really do work well for cleaning mirrors with just water and for removing grease and grime with just water. Her toilet brushes also perform their task superbly [$6.95 for the 17-inch Rubba Swisha].”

“I have a new product,” shared Janine, “called Smitty’s Glass Wax [$9.83 per bottle at]. It’s for cleaning eyeglasses, iPhones, iPads. I tried it on the television screen, and it worked well. I used it on the living room window, countertops, wood table, stove, and finally the always-disgusting medicine-cabinet mirror. Here’s the miracle: I cleaned the disgusting bathroom mirror, and not only did I not have to clean it again that day, but I didn’t have to clean it for four whole days. That’s pretty awesome, considering all the grimy hands that touch that mirror throughout the day.”

“Every few months,” offered Bernice, “I take Lime-A-Way [$2.88 for 16 ounces at Walmart] and spray the inside of my dishwasher thoroughly with it. I run the dishwasher on a normal cycle for about five minutes and then turn off the dishwasher and let it sit for a few hours. Then I run a rinse/drain cycle. This helps with that gross build-up you get on the inside of your dishwasher.

“I also use Clorox Washing Machine Cleaner [$2.99 for 24 ounces at Target] to clean my washing machine. I run it through an empty washer instead of detergent to clean its components.”

How Clean Is Your House? is a BBC show with two ladies who go into filthy houses and transform them,” offered Brigid. “They have brilliant and unusual recipes for products. Check out their clips on YouTube.”

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